Make no mistake about it: yesterday was an absolutely horrible day for the Tide D. The usually stout Bama defense gave up a whopping 11 touchdowns, and failed to produce a single turnover.
However, these numbers are not as bad as they appear. Sure, the defense gave up eleven scores, but the offense ran approximately 140 plays in the scrimmage — more than double the average number of plays that the Tide D faced in a game last year. In addition, Alabama was missing a number of key players on defense, including CJ Mosley, Trey DePriest and Xzavier Dickson. What unit wouldn’t struggle against an offense featuring AJ McCarron, TJ Yeldon and Amari Cooper if it were missing three of its top playmakers?
While there’s no disputing that Alabama needs to fine-tune a few things before the season opens, expect the Tide defense to be in championship form against the Virginia Tech Hokies on Aug. 31. After all, Saban is one of the top defensive minds in college football history. Regardless of what personnel he has available, Saban knows how to put his players in position to make plays. Aside from his first season in Tuscaloosa, Alabama has finished no lower than fifth nationally in total defense. You can’t have that type of success without learning how to make a few adjustments along the way.
In other words, relax Crimson Tide fans. Don’t let the results of one scrimmage — where the defense was clearly shorthanded — trick you into thinking that D is going to magically fall apart this season. Saban’s remarkable level of success at Alabama suggests that everything is going to be just fine.
Terry Johnson is a college football writer for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TPJCollFootball, like him on Facebook and/or add him to your network on Google+